The Station is a spacious South Philadelphia corner bar with little other than a chalk sign and a few neon beer logos in the windows to distinguish it from the surrounding residential neighborhood. Just two blocks from the intersection of Broad and Passyunk, on most nights you would be hard-pressed to characterize its regular denizens as ‘hip’, the bar seemingly an oasis of normality in this area on the bleeding edge of gentrification. A group of enterprising outsiders has taken it upon themselves to support the arts in the burgeoning South Philadelphia scene by forming Flash Mob Productions, who throw shows there just often enough to have a comfortable understanding with the staff. Despite its virtually unsearchable name and complete lack of an official web presence, quite a few people manage to find the place, and those who do are rewarded with a solid beer selection, cheap shots, and the ever-rarer ability to smoke indoors.
Last night, the most recent show to bring a crowd into this unique situation featured Solus Rex, who established their intent to have a good time right up front when sound check suddenly turned into a rousing rendition of Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend”. After one verse and chorus, they introduced themselves and began in earnest, opening with an original before launching into an excellent cover of Daft Punk’s Grammy-winning “Get Lucky”. Having hooked the audience with a crowd-pleaser, they were free to run through a varied set of their own music, mixing and matching between their debut album Checkmate and their next project, as yet unnamed. Bar favorites seemed to be “Sink or Swim” and “Hysteria”, both songs where frontman Cain plays lead on keys, bringing a definite honky-tonk flavor to the proceedings. Drummer Tyler Perle was animated as ever behind a kit borrowed from Baltimore rockers Community Center, also on the bill, whose EP can be downloaded for free on their Bandcamp page. Bassist Rob Franchetti seems to have recovered from his recent illness, his backing vocals back to their full strength and participation in between-song banter to its usual frequency and enthusiasm. Ivory tickler Matt Rogoff and guitarist The Raven were impeccable as ever, the overall performance inciting everything from dance-offs to album purchases from the odd assemblage of people present. The Station makes a distinct entry on the list of Philadelphia venues, and Solus Rex remains a firm local favorite, one you can catch live at Ardmore Music Hall the 19th and World Cafe Live May 24th.
By Dave Fox | Philadelphia Ambassador | @philosofoxthedj | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC